Comparative Neurobiology Lab
Neurobiology of learning in amphibians
Important similarities have been noted between the organization of the amphibian telencephalon and the mammalian limbic pathways involved in the regulation of motivated behaviour. We study the brain substrate of behavioural flexibility and habit learning in amphibians within a comparative perspective. For that purpose, protocols of appetitive and aversive conditioning are established using amphibians in the laboratory. These conditioning protocols are then adapted for methods of functional neuroanatomy, which measure brain activity indirectly. By doing these experiments, we hope to clarify which regions of the brain as well as which neurotransmitters and neuromodulators take part in learning and motivation processes in amphibians. The information gleaned from studies of amphibians can then be compared to the situation in other vertebrates to infer evolutionary trends.